Wednesday, October 21, 2015

BOOK LOG 46: WHICH WAY TO THE WILD WEST?


BOOK LOG 46: WHICH WAY TO THE WILD WEST?
by Steve Sheinkin
Since Jacquie Rogers, author of the Hearts of Owyhee western romance series, is a client and from time to time I have found myself editing (who would have thought, with that introduction?) western romances, I figured I should refresh my memory of what the Wild West really was. I was looking for some basic works on the topic when I came across this book, meant for youngsters. It did the job, though, reminding me of what the West was and stood for and it was thoroughly entertaining and informing.

One thing I’ve always commented on is a provincialism, in some ways more out of necessity than desire, in the teaching of American history. Those who grow up on the East Coast will get a much more thorough look at the nation’s history as it concerns the East Coast (certainly the earliest years), while those who grow up on the West Coast will get a more detail-oriented look at how the West was won (so to speak). And there will be a year in which regional history is the focus. This is to be expected, right? Meaning that it’s logical that someone who grows up in Washington State will find out more about Galloping Gertie than someone who grows up in New York City. (For those of you who didn’t grow up in Western Washington, Galloping Gertie was a suspension bridge that collapsed back in the 1940s due to high winds. There was film captured of the event, and if you went through the local school systems, you probably saw that clip of the wild winds, the bridge swaying, people running, and then, the bridge falling. And you probably saw it time and time and time again.)

Anyway, I was just saying that you tend to know more about the history in the area in which you grew up. As a result, even though I went to school in the West, I still didn’t know a lot about the West as it’s defined by Sheinkin (and generally; because, as I was reminded, terms like “West” and “Northwest” shifted depending on how far the nation had made its way across the continent). While the author does a great job of hitting the highlights (and lowlights) of the American expansion (as he notes, “the Wild West” can be defined by the continuing formation of the nation in the 19th century, and he roughly keeps the span of the book during that 100-year period), it’s the details that he reveals that I’m pretty sure I didn’t learn as a kid out in the (Pacific) Northwest, and when I mentioned a few to my husband, who grew up in NYC, neither had he.

So we learned stuff, the book was entertaining and educating, and while there was no mention of the “Arkansas Toothpick” (a folding dagger; and my questioning the use of the term is what led me to doing research in the first place), I learned lots of other stuff. You will too.

COMING UP: Poldarks, none of them like Mistress of Mellyn!

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Juggling Projects


By Elizabeth MS Flynn w/a Eilis Flynn
Since I was laid off a couple of years ago, my former freelance business, now full-time business, keeps me surprisingly busy. To the point that I have to keep track of what projects are going on at any given time with an activity tracker, like busy moms do with busy families and kids.

Well, close, not quite. Not having room for a complex piece of hardware (ie, a whiteboard) in my office, I keep track with a running sheet of projects on (who would have thought?) a sheet of paper. Old school, using a pen and paper, even. (I’m old school like that.) Once I finish, I cross it off. Simple, you say. Simple? SIMPLE? Well, yeah, it is, but if you’re like me, the constant reminder of the list just sitting there, ever growing, alarms you, just a tad. (Okay, in all fairness, that list is also ever shrinking. Because I do get things done. It’s just alarming, you know?)

The point of knowing what you have to do is so you can arrange and rearrange your management of projects so you give enough time to all those active projects and keep in the back of your mind how to deal with the upcoming ones, and also how to deal with anything that comes along unexpectedly. When I started doing this small-business thing full time, I predicted I would have periods of calm and periods of frenzy, like any business. What I should have realized was the constant surveillance of both periods is its own task. In itself, it is a running sheet. But that’s what a small business is—doing the work, looking for work, cleaning up the work. Determining what should be done and when. And that goes for any kind of business.

Coming up? Editorial projects to work on and two presentations at the Emerald City Writers’ Conference in a couple of weeks. They’re all there in the running sheet, but the conference had to be circled, just in case I forgot for some reason, and moved up on the running sheet! The revamping of my own websites, both emsflynn and eilisflynn, go lower, much lower, on the running sheet. The wrangling of authors for their work, already done but requiring handling of one kind or another, go higher. My own writing? A few pages here and there, but that’s got to go lower on the list. That’s the nature of the small business and managing it.

Elizabeth MS Flynn has written fiction in the form of comic book stories, romantic fantasies, urban fantasies, historical fantasies and short stories, a young adult novel, and a graphic novella (most published under the name of Eilis Flynn). She’s also a professional editor and has been for more than 35 years, working with academia, technology, and finance nonfiction, and romance fiction. If you’re looking for an editor, she can be found editing at emsflynn.com and reached at emsflynn@aol.com. If you’re curious about her books, check out eilisflynn.com. In any case, she can be reached at eilisflynn@aol.com.